My Papa is a 76-year-old servant. An immigrant from Germany who has spent his life serving God in the most simple of ways, but his simplicity has added many to the Kingdom. I have learned from my Papa that I can serve God just by giving someone a hamburger or a ride to a store. My Papa has a special place in my heart and that place has been the key to open a special door in my heart: the elderly. Any time I see an elderly person, I just see my Papa. I see his little stature, his gray beard, the little shuffle he has when he walks, his smile, the crinkle in his eyes when he giggles, his rough hands from working and painting for so many years, and his gentle spirit that is filled with laughter and honesty.
Many times I pray for God to let me see people through his eyes, but sometimes, it is easier to try and see people through my Papa’s eyes. When he sees a person on the street corner begging for food, he sees someone who doesn’t just need food, but hope. When he sees someone limping on the side of the road, he doesn’t just see a helpless person who needs a ride, but someone who needs a spiritual pick-me-up.
The past two weeks, we have been in the Maasai tribe going hut to hut either praying over Christians and encouraging them to keep serving God or sharing the Gospel with people who didn’t know the Lord. We have formed special bonds with many of the people, and as I look at them, I see them as my Papa would. As I wash two-year-old Dickson’s body with baby wipes, I’m not just cleaning him but I’m praying over him and over his future. As I drink the tea made from the water cow’s drink out of, I’m not just being respectful or polite, but showing the family that I love them and that I see their respect for me.
I have had many opportunities to pour love out onto the children in this tribe, but there have been three elderly people who have captured my heart completely. One of them was a man we got to lead to the Lord. His hands and feet were swollen and arthritis obviously consumed them, but I looked at him and saw my Papa. The second was an elderly woman of over a hundred years. She loved God and served Him and it was obvious her love for Jesus as she smiled her toothless smile and held my hands and kissed my cheeks. She just glowed with a light that could only come from Jesus. And again, I saw my Papa. And lastly, a man who captured my heart from the moment I saw him dancing. He was quite old, but was dancing and praising God with energy only God could give. As we held hands and danced together, I saw my Papa. And through them, I am reminded that I can see all people through my Papa’s eyes.
This blog was first published on Adventures In Missions blog forum in September of 2012, at the beginning of a semester-long mission trip to Kenya, Africa.
From Bible studies to blogs, articles to musings of the heart, Kendra's writings are unbarred and raw - exactly how she speaks.